Published On: Fri, Jun 6th, 2014

Substance abuse led trusted employee to embezzlement

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Citing a personal history of substance abuse, Lisa Carol Ayers, formerly of the Greenbrier County Commission on Aging (GCCA), received a sentence of one to ten years in relation to her conviction via plea agreement involving her embezzlement of over $60,000 from the agency.

At sentencing on June 2, Gloria Martin, president of GCCA, addressed the court by reading a letter describing the details of the embezzlement. As reported in the Daily News, a forensic audit of records from Feb. 1, 2011 through Feb. 5, 2013, found that Ayers had written checks and used Automated Teller Machines for the theft of the money.

Martin expressed, “Our friendship and trust were misplaced. Ayers gave false reports of our financial situation at board meetings: and we are, and will be for a time, digging ourselves out of a financial hole.” Martin added that the embezzlement has caused donors who support GCCA to question where their donations are going; and this has put the program that assists seniors in danger.

Judge James J. Rowe said Ayer’s actions have had an adverse affect on the elderly and their sense of security, as well as the ability for GCCA to pay staff their worth.

The plea agreement of Feb. 24, requires Ayers to pay restitution of $78,224 to cover the stolen funds and the cost of a forensic audit, perform 1,000 hours of community service and to serve jail time.

Ayers said that, “I am sorry for what I have done. The Committee on Aging put their trust in me, and I betrayed it; I never meant to hurt anyone and there was never any malice in my heart.” She added that she has battled substance abuse for a while and is seeking treatment.

Public Defender Joshua L. Edwards stated that Ayers has started counseling, secured a job, and has returned $1,200 of the restitution.

At sentencing, Judge Rowe said, “You took for your own gratification; and there was malice.” Ayers was then taken into custody, where she will serve 90 days in the Southern Regional Jail. Afterwards, she will serve up to ten years in the Greenbrier County’s Home Confinement Program unless she paroles out of it at some point.